Council says miniature pods ‘unfit for humans’

A SPANISH company has been facing outrage after revealing plans to rent out tiny pods, like honeycombs, to low-income workers, for as little as 200 euros a month.

The Barcelona firm believes its Haibu (beehive in Japanese) project is a solution to the Catalan capital’s soaring rent prices.

But it probably won’t see the light of day, because Barcelona Council has refused to issue a building licence, because, it says, the miniature accommodation is “unfit for humans”.

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau, a former housing and anti-eviction activist, said: “Fortunately, piling up people is prohibited. The law does not allow this type of dwelling.”

But the defiant Haibu 4.0 company has already started building the first eight pods, despite lacking the go-ahead, and it expects them to be finished by the end of the month, at an empty business premises.

Each 2.4sq/m pod comes complete with a bed, TV, storage space and power plugs, and the skin-tight accommodation, has become a popular option for Japan’s tourists.

The project will include a communal area with a kitchen, lounge and bathrooms, and the monthly rent would include utility bills and wifi.

Haibu housing is restricted to those aged 25-45, who have a minimum salary of 450 euros, monthly. And the company claims 500 people have already expressed an interest.

“We are basing it on the idea that a group of people, who can’t have access to housing, can band together and move ahead,” said Victoria Cerdan, one of the entrepreneurs behind Haibu 4.0.

“Obviously, it is not adequate housing. No one would want it for himself or herself. But no one wants a monthly salary of 500 euros, and, unfortunately, they exist. Instead of living on the street, we offer this.”

Inigo Errejon, a prominent law-maker with political party Podemos, criticised the idea, tweeting: “There are similar houses in cemeteries. They are called coffins.”

Barcelona has seen the average rent for a flat soar 28.7% between 2014 and 2017 to 903.4 euros.

The Haibu idea is but not for full-time living: They are a cheap option for tourists and business travellers, who want to stay for just one or two nights in the same city. They merely want a roof over their heads.




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Posted by on Sep 21 2018. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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